The U.S. government requires immigrant visa applicants to meet specific health standards. One component of these standards is the vaccination requirement. But what exactly does an intending immigrant need to do to meet these requirements?

The Process: Medical Examination and Vaccinations

The process of fulfilling the vaccination requirement is part of the medical examination that all immigrant visa applicants must undergo. This examination is conducted by a panel physician authorized at a clinic that is under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State. Here’s an overview of the process:

  1. Scheduling the Medical Examination: Once an immigrant visa applicant is notified of their interview date, they must schedule a medical examination. Depending on the processing post, this should be done before the interview.
  2. Review of Medical History and Vaccination Records: The panel physician will review the immigrant visa applicant’s medical history and vaccination records. It is essential to bring vaccination records to the examination. If the records are incomplete or missing, additional vaccinations may be required.
  3. Administration of Required Vaccines: During the examination, the panel physician will administer any required vaccines that the applicant has not already received, The list of required vaccines is based on recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) ( and is updated periodically.
  4. Medical Examination Report: After the examination, the panel physician will complete a medical examination report, which includes the vaccination record. This report is then submitted to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy as part of the visa application process,

Required Vaccines

The specific vaccines required for immigrant visa applicants are determined by age, and include the following:

– Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)

– Polio

– Tetanus and Diphtheria toxoids

– Pertussis

– Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

– Hepatitis A

– Hepatitis B

– Rotavirus

– Meningococcal disease

– Varicella (chickenpox)

– Pneumococcal disease

– Influenza (flu season only)

– COVID-19 (applicants need to have received a COVID-19 vaccination within the past 12 months to qualify)

Exceptions and Waivers

While the vaccination requirement is comprehensive, there are exceptions and waivers available under certain circumstances:

  1. Medical Contraindications: If an applicant has a medical condition that contraindicates vaccination, such as a severe allergy, it is possible that a waiver may be available. 
  2. Not Age Appropriate: Some vaccines may not be appropriate for applicants based on their age. For instance, certain vaccines are not administered to infants or elderly individuals.
  3. Vaccine Availability: In some cases, vaccines may not be available in the immigrant visa applicant’s country. The physician will note this and a waiver may be available,
  4. Religious or Moral Beliefs: Waivers can also be requested based on sincere religious or moral beliefs against vaccination of all kinds. These waivers require a detailed application process which can articulate the applicant’s beliefs in such a way as to result in a granted moral exemption to the vaccine requirement.

Importance of the Vaccine Requirement

The vaccine requirement is an important part of an immigrant visa application. It is not possible to immigrate to the United States without navigating this process one way or another. Not taking these requirements into account can result in delay or denial of the immigrant visa application. Applicants are encouraged to think about how the vaccine requirement will impact their case in advance to avoid delays.

While many applicants will already have all of the required vaccines for their immigrant visa application, others will need to receive further vaccination. This is particularly true now that the COVID-19 vaccine must have been administered to applicants in the past 12 months to remain valid for immigration purposes. Some applicants may not be able to receive vaccines for medical, logistical or moral reasons. 

For more information, contact us at and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.                


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